The top two engineered lap siding brands are the defending champion HardiePlank fiber cement and the up-and-coming contender LP SmartSide engineered wood siding.
This guide covers the HardiePlank vs. LP SmartSide comparison from all angles that matter to a homeowner – Looks, durability, cost of materials and installation, and more. We’ll uncover the differences between the two to help you decide which one fits your project requirements better.
Expect to pay between $8.50 and $14.00 per square foot to install LP SmartSide siding. For HardiePlank siding, your costs will between $9.00 and $14.50 per square foot installed.
Note: LP’s SmartSide relative cost advantage is due to slightly lower material and installation costs thanks to its lighter weight.
The possible cost range is broad, however, based on factors spelled out below. This table breaks down costs for these two leading siding alternatives to natural wood.
Material Cost per sq.ft.
$2.00 – $4.00
$1.85 – $3.75
Installation Cost per sq.ft.
$5.50 – $10.50
$4.50 – $9.25
Total Cost Range per sq.ft.
$7.50 – $14.50
$6.35 – $14.00
Average Cost per sq.ft.
$9.00 – $11.50
Cost to Value Recouped
83% – 86%
82% – 87%
As you can see in the table above, these are comparably priced materials, so unless you’re watching pennies very closely, this probably won’t be the deciding factor.
James Hardie brought HardiePlank fiber cement siding to the world in the 1980s and was unchallenged as the market leader for nearly a decade.
Once homeowners realized that fiber cement siding is a legitimate alternative to wood siding, without some of the wood’s hassles, the demand for fiber cement has increased and spurred competition among brands.
Allura fiber cement siding is a top challenger to HardiePlank. Our comparison guide is a one-stop pricing and pros and cons reference for homeowners:
Prices for materials including soffit, trim and accessories for both brands
Installation costs — Total Cost Installed (Materials, Labor, Warranty) Per Sq. ft.
Examples of Total Job Costs to Expect to Install Fiber Cement on A Typical House
Expected Return on Investment (ROI) or Cost to Value Return
Allura vs. HardiePlank Pros and Cons — Product Styles and Options Compared Side by Side
Alternative Fiber Cement and Engineered Wood Siding Brands
Allura Fiber Cement vs. HardiePlank Lap Siding
Allura was originally made by CertainTeed under another name. That explains the marketing strategy behind it.
Rather than come in at a lower cost to compete with HardiePlank, Allura is marketed as premium building material that is worth paying more for.
Allura’s 50-year warranty vs. HardiePlank’s 30-year warranty gives that claim credibility.
Allura vs. James Hardie Pricing
Here is a breakdown of costs for plank siding and shingle/shake siding plus accessories and installation for both brands.
The range of costs for each line is due to differences in product pricing and the variety of sellers. Examples of complete materials and installation pricing for typical homes are found below:
Average total cost for James Hardie siding materials and installation supplies: $3.35
Did you know?
HardiePlank makes a premium fiber cement product called Artisan Luxury fiber cement lap siding.
It is available in limited areas and in a limited range of colors and styles. It is 5/8” thick, twice as thick as 5/16” standard HardiePlank and Allura siding. The cost is $6.00-$9.00 per square foot for the siding and trim. Installed costs range from $14-$20 per square foot.
Did you know? James Hardie uses a slightly different formulation for products sold in climates where freezing is possible. Additives protect the material from freeze/thaw expansion and contraction cycles that can cause cement to crack.
Products for northern climates are labeled HZ5. Southern-climate and West Coast materials are labeled HZ10. Not surprisingly, this is called the HardieZone System.
The look, feel, and performance of the boards are the same. If you’re buying locally, the seller should only have products appropriate for your climate, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Total Cost to Install (Materials, Labor, Permitting, and Warranty):
Allura costs slightly more to install because it is heavier and thicker. Fiber cement installation cost has become more competitive in recent years as more siding contractors become familiar with fiber cement and start offering installation.
Expect to pay $8.50 – $14.50 per square foot for the installation based on the level of expertise of the installing crew and the complexity of the job.
All fiber cement manufacturers recommend installation by a licensed siding contractor using a crew that is experienced in installing their products.
You can always find cheaper installation in the $6.50 – $8.50 per square foot installed range, but your results might suffer.
Average fiber cement total installation cost: $8.50 to $12.50 per square foot
Did you know? If installing house wrap is part of your home siding project, the installed cost of house wrap will be $0.50 per square foot based on the installation factors discussed above. — This cost is normally included as part of total cost in all professional and warrantied high-end installations